Driving with my button open

I bought new jeans last week and today is my second time wearing them. After about 20 minutes in the car I could feel the waistband pinching in to me so I opened the top button to give my belly a bit of room. My first feeling about this was disgust, that I have gained so much weight that now my jeans are too tight for me. That I’m a worthless, useless human being who just can’t keep her weight in check. These are the same brand of jean I’ve worn for the past few years so it’s not the jeans, it’s just me and my ginormous horrible belly.

Thirty minutes later with a coffee, and some time to reflect, I’m kind of laughing at myself. So what if my jeans are a bit tight? In this moment I only have a couple of options – one, deal with it and open my button when they’re feeling too tight – two, wait and see if they loosen out a little after a few wears – three, accept that I need to buy a bigger size and buy it now and suck up the wasted money or four- keep getting upset about it and let a stupid jean button dictate my life.

What a crappy option number four is. My life is far to big and full for that kind of attitude now. Who cares if I open my button when I need to? (don’t worry, modesty wise I have a long t-shirt on!) Who cares if I wear a size bigger? I want to be the type of person who accepts their body for what it is and doesn’t buy into the thin ideal. I want to show other women and girls that any body is okay, that size does not equate to worth. I can’t do that if I’m crying in my car about my top button being open.

So I’m going for option one today and in time might consider buying the next size up if needed – this feels terrifying to me – but it is a sensible solution to what is really a small problem in the grand scheme of life. Like seriously, do I want to live a life where I have to blog about the size of my jeans?!

Still learning…

 

 

 

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Where I’m at

I need to break the block of writing here again so here is a list of random thoughts that are not really intended for anyone to read.

  • I gained weight to the highest amount I have ever been and I cannot cope with it. I am at a healthy weight but I can’t bear to look at myself and feeling myself in this body brings me to tears or self-harm frequently.
  • I cancelled an appointment with my counsellor two months ago and haven’t been able to bring myself to reschedule as I didn’t feel like she really understood the pain I felt at being this weight.
  • I followed this with three weeks of full on bulimia i.e. planned binges, repeated binge-purging. It felt liberating and to be honest, enjoyable, until suddenly it was not and I stated cancelling plans, got quite sick and cracked two teeth in the process.
  • I am now in the process of getting back on my meal plan and trying to acknowledge binge urges and see them just as neurological junk.
  • I would like to lose weight but it is not happening and I am trying to not fall apart due to this.
  • I have come off my anti-depressants with the help of my doctor as I felt they were making me apathetic and were no longer helping with the mood or the binge-purging anyway. I’m pleased with this decision as while I am a bit more tearful I am also being more pro-active about using other strategies to support my mood.
  • I was in a new relationship and things were all going well and we were making plans, then last week he suddenly decided he wanted a break as I didn’t have enough time for him. I’m really sad by this, but equally I can’t magic more time out of thin air and have to look after myself too.
  • I stopped running over winter as part of tackling my exercise compulsion, but in hindsight it led to quite a low mood over the winter and I won’t be experimenting with that again. It also contributed to the weight gain so you can imagine how I feel about that. I am back running now but I’m slow and unfit so currently trying to deal with the voices in my head about that.
  • I started a new job and it is great. I am still doing my PhD and that is not great.

So overall a mixed bag, lots of negative re: ED and mood, but I am present and engaged and taking ownership of it, and importantly I know I will be okay, and that bit of hope is enough to keep me swimming, however hard it might be.

“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it” 

Woodrow T. Wilson

Sorry for the smell

TMI beware!

After thinking long and hard about the type of awareness that is important in relation EDs I have concluded that acknowledging the wind/gas issue is one of my priorities!

I’m getting back to regular eating after a bit of a blip (I let jars back into my life and have pretty much eaten toast and PB/jam/marmalade for most meals for a few weeks) and my stomach/bowels are not happy with me. I’m trying really hard to be positive but the stinkiness is trying its best to ruin my day.

I would like to apologise to all the people in my real world who have had to suffer the smells with me. I have no control over it. It sucks. It is one of the rough bits of recovery no one talks about.

So here’s my awareness raising – I’m pretty much farting my way to recovery, and yes it’s gross but I am trying not to be ashamed of it!

(But if anyone has any tips that don’t involve changing my diet please share!)

ED rules

Somehow I have made it to this point in my treatment/ recovery without really having to address ‘ED rules’. Inadvertently I have addressed some of them which had a more direct impact on my meal plan and weight e.g. carbs, eating times etc. and I guess both me and my counsellor figures I had got through this challenge and am living quite ‘rule-free’.

However, I am now at the stage where I am fairly compliant with structured eating so we are working on episodes where things have gone a bit awry and I’ve lapsed into behaviours such as restricting/ bingeing/ purging (vomiting and over-exercising). These are waaaay less frequent than they were, which is great of course. If we take a week to have 42 opportunities (7 days x 6 meals/snacks) I’m on approximately a 60-70% success rate. Ideally though I should be getting through some weeks at 100% and reducing these lapses but it’s yet to happen.

When reviewing my food diary in the session before last, my counsellor was trying to figure out why I’d restricted at certain points, what was the reason behind missed meals etc. I explained these blips with the usual reasons such as ‘hadn’t been shopping so didn’t have anything suitable in’ ‘only had a banana left and I’d already eaten a banana ‘oats are not safe anymore because I binged on them’ ‘was going out for dinner so was anxious about calories’. My counsellor, being the expert that she is, shut this down pretty much straight away and told me this was just ED spouting rules at her and she didn’t need to listen to it until we were going to tackle it, so she tasked me with writing a list of ‘ED rules’ before my next session.

At my next session I arrived with quite the list (I won’t share them here because I don’t want to be causing any ED comparisons!). She read through the pages (yes, plural) and just looked up at me and said ‘Well no wonder you haven’t recovered more if you still have these in your head’. She seemed a bit perturbed that I had never been challenged on some of these before by other therapists/ nurses. This is probably partly due to the fact that I have squirmed my way out of tough things with previous therapists (e.g. food diaries, weighing etc.). When they pushed me on this and told me I had to comply to stay with them I just quit -in fact that’s how this blog started! I think it also might that when being treated as an outpatient no-one actually sees me at mealtimes, and as I have always successfully restored my weight maybe it hadn’t seemed necessary. While the thought of addressing these rules is terrifying (picture me in the session sobbing I JUST CAN’T EAT FOOD ON A PLATE AT HOME WHY DOES IT MATTER WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE!), I can see that the fact that I had that reaction is exactly the reason why I need to start challenging them!

A part of me wants to argue that it doesn’t seem necessary because I’m at a healthy weight, but then the rational bit of me knows full well that you can still be very disordered whatever your weight. Would I say to someone else that those rules are fine? Even if they weren’t affecting my behaviour I need to address them so they can stop infecting my mind. Most of my rules read like a history of diet approaches and mentality, and if that ethos still has a place in my head then I will never be free. I need to get rid of the weeds and the roots.

So the time has come to face the fear. I have two rules to tackle this week: teaspoons and plates – I’ll keep you updated on my progress – but anyone that might be triggered feel free to stay away – and anyone that is reading this thinking ‘hmmm yeah maybe I do have a few rules that I’ve never addressed’ then I’ve my fingers crossed for your progress too.

 

 

This isn’t what I wanted for my life 

I go to bed tonight with a sore throat, a heavy heart, wet eyes and bleeding skin.

This isn’t what I wanted for my life. I thought I was stronger than this right now. I thought if I kept fighting it would be okay.

I know this is just a knock. I know it’s a bad day, a bad night. I know I will wake up tomorrow regretful but renewed. I know I will keep going, but right now I can’t help but think that this is not what I wanted for my life. It doesn’t matter though, what I think tonight, what matters is tomorrow morning getting up and facing it all again. 

I will wake up in the morning and face it all again because that is what recovery is, step by step, day by day. What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while, and everyday I shall try. 

Tonight will pass and tomorrow will come, at least I can be sure of that.

Give it time 

On Monday 18th January 1993 I declared in my first ever diary that I was too fat and I was going on a diet. (In fact I wrote ‘I’m to fat’ – clearly I wasn’t proof reading my entries!)

That statement was the beginning of a near-lifetime experience of disordered eating. 24 years have passed -which is probably more than a lifetime for some of you- and I am still working on recovery. 

It’s taking a while, I have sprints and bursts, and then pauses and set backs. I’ve taken some diversions along the way. I’ve thrown myself in fully, then pulled myself right back out and run and hid. However I can say that for the past few years I have been really trying. I don’t even know what the destination is somedays, what will recovery will look like for me?,  but I know I’m working towards something that is better than before. 

I owe it to the young scared version of myself to aim for a life without fear of food and hatred of my body. I can’t re-do the past years but I can set the tone for the next however many I am lucky to get. 

I’m prepared to be patient and to give it time. I gave ED so many years, why would I not commit to giving recovery the same? However tired I am of fighting, it’s still a better day than without trying. 

So on Wenesday 28th June 2017 I shall declare not that I’m too fat, but that I’m too determined to not see this through. Recovery- I shall give you all the time that it needs. 

(And now I shall go meet my friends for pizza and wine because when you can do that on a Wednesday for £10 why would you not?!) 

A nugget of gold from my counsellor 

I’ve been lying low the last few weeks which generally means I haven’t been having a great time- just the usual low mood eating disorder crap coupled with horrendous body image as I have gained some (necessary, according to my counsellor) weight. I felt like I was just stuck in the same kind of place I’d been in before and with nothing new to share about it, just needed to ride it out and hope it passed. 

I had a much needed session with my counsellor yesterday and she has managed to inspire a kindling of fighting spirit. She reminded me that all the horrible voices are thoughts are part of the illness and while they might grow stronger as I fight them, recovery will be what eventually silences them.

I talked about how awful I feel at what might be my set point and how I don’t think I can tolerate being there, that I have too many bad memories of feeling so rubbish about my body and about how out of control I felt that I didn’t see the point in getting there to bring that all back- if I’m going to feel rubbish I would prefer to be a lower weight and rubbish. 

But then came the nugget of gold wisdom from her- she reminded me that I have never been well at that weight before. So while I have been at that weight maybe about 4 times, at all of them I was still purging, or bingeing and purging. I have had this eating disorder for 20+ years now, really my body doesn’t know what it feels like to be well for any extended period of time, I can’t predict that I will feel the same as I did before as it won’t be the same as it was before, I wasn’t structured eating, I wasn’t not binging, I wasn’t not purging, I wasn’t not restricting. 

This little fact gave me hope that maybe things will be different this time and that I need to keep trusting the process and be open to the possibility that maybe after all of this things will be okay. I just needed something to cling on to to convince myself to keep going and I think she provided it in that once sentence. I need to remain optimistic that maybe I can gain weight and actually be okay with it. Eek!